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Posts tagged ‘The Netherlands’

Pines in the snow

pine branch in snow

Pining for snow

eleven cities tour

1985: After 22 years of pining, at last it was there!

When I left the Netherlands in 1983 I could not remember when snow had last fallen or when the country had been bestowed with a winter harsh enough for the Eleven Cities tour to take place. As a youngster I had loved snow and ice-skating, but from my teens till my early twenties, winters were bland. Humid cold, stormy, rainy days, occasionally snow unworthy of mentioning and although I owned ice skates I didn’t have the need for them anymore. I do not remember any of those last winters hindering my cycling to work.

Down south

winter scene RSA

South Africa: yellowish-brown winter scene

Johannesburg, where I settled at the end of 1983, has a climate very different from the Netherlands. Dry winters and rainy summers down south. That first winter I was stunned and abhorred when everything turned brown and yellow and stayed that way for months. I was told that it snowed once every ten years in the city and that the last time had been in 1981. Hhmmm. Instead of loathing rain, I got to love it (Holland, like England, can be quite gloomy with many drizzly days in a row). You simply look out for it after six months of its absence while suffering the views of the scorched fields and parks, and you, as a new immigrant, start to look forward to it just as much as every other resident in the region.

To this day, more than ten years after leaving South Africa and having lived in the Netherlands for a whole year now, I love rain. But I love snow more. As a child I used to sit on my knees, leaning against the back of an easy chair, looking through the window and up into the millions of whirling snow flakes. Snow flakes seemed huge then!  Is it any wonder that the longer I lived down south the more I longed for a good old fashioned winter? Exactly thirteen months after I left Holland they were able to hold their first Eleven Cities tour in 22 years’ time. A friend sent me a beautiful publication of the event. I was immensely jealous and peeved! It was weird to see pictures of my country fellowmen tackling the frozen ‘tundra’ of Friesland while I enjoyed my second Jo’burg summer.

Holland is good to me

roe in snow

Unfortunately, not my own picture – had to nick it from the net

A year ago I arrived in a certain area because of three reasons. I had googled 1) house to rent, 2) pets allowed, and 3) wifi internet. It was miles away from my family and in a province I had visited once or twice during the summertime several decades earlier. I didn’t know that it would be colder here than at the North Sea coast. That geese and Whooper swans would be flying to and fro all day long. Roes running past me in the forest. A huge forest virtually on my doorstep, sand drifts not much further, as well as an old peat collection area, now protected. I just wanted to live somewhere safe with my pets and be spherically connected, so to speak. No, I would not have dreamt of asking for all those wonderful ‘things’ that I got. But then again, I knew then and know now, and have known for quite a while that Mother Nature loves me (and I’ve loved her right back). It’s as if she opened a treasure chest for me.

Pines in the snow

Here then, some (cell/mobile) pictures of my walk with Pantouf through a recent layer of snow (the second since early December).

Pines in snow

This way please!

Pine - exposed roots

Treerosion

Pine and dog

Old beauties

Pine broken branches

All shapes and sizes

Pine needles in snow

Snowy needles

detail pines in snow

Surprise! Detail of ‘Pine trees in snow’ by Maruyama Ōkyo – a well known painting

Pines and bench in snow

Still-life

Pine and dog in snow

Born to sniff

pine bark

Close enough?

pine pair

A fine pine pair – till death do us part

pine - angled

Is it tough being an old tree?

dog on path

Time to go home ~ that was fun!

During the last snowfall, the walking paths, pavements and roads seemed to hold too much warmth for the snow to accumulate on them (it had been exceptionally mild for a while).  So no slipping and sliding.  Therefore, the ideal snowfall.

snowflake

Patterns in the snow

Lo and behold, it was snowing in the Netherlands!

Dry snow, that is.  Had about 3 inches here in the south-east of Friesland.  Boy, did I ever feel at home.

Winter trees in snow

Wintry stillness

So did my dog Pantouf, who was born and raised in the province of Quebec, Canada.  She was still a pup – you know, a real pup, not the kind that is referred to by their doting owners when the dog is already 10 😉 – when she started hunting mice simply because there was a blanket of snow hiding them.  I suspect that she hears them even better, or her instincts are more alert when there is snow (for instance, because coyotes would get hungry during winter and they’d have to hunt more diligently, I dunno, just guessing).

Fat mice hunting

Fat mice hunting

I was just going to post some pictures here with snow patterns, ha ha!  What can I say, I’m a chatterbox.  I’ve been quiet lately, not blogging at all, just because it claims so much of my time.  When I do something, I do it right.  Makes me think immediately of a Joan Armatrading song.  Help Yourself.

That said, I can also be an immense slacker.  Those are the opposites in me – there are many – a perfectionist on the one end and a slacker on the other.  That is one of the reasons why I have been consciously single for a couple of years.  I am hell to share a roof with and I’d feel the same about anyone who’d share it with me!  So I share it with my pets.  Just this morning I was thinking of how wonderful it is to have long-lasting harmony in my home!

Okay, without venturing onto the tangent any further, here then are my snowy pictures with patterns:

As I stepped out of my front door...

As I stepped out of my front door…

Bricks are hiding here...

Bricks are hiding here…

Almost Christmas

Almost Christmas

Not the leaves, but snow is clinging to the trees

Not the leaves, but snow is clinging to the trees

Ditto

Ditto

Spot the pattern... :)

Spot the pattern… 🙂

Home again, I noticed this almost Mondriaan painting on my patio

Home again, I noticed this almost Mondriaan painting on my patio

Sunday 9 December

After just one rainy day, most of the snow has washed away

I don’t mind, we had our fun, glad the snow is on the run

Pavements were slippery and roads were icy

To drive or walk was just too dicey!

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